Wednesday, June 17, 2009

National Heathcare! Remember contact your Congressman! Remember that 33% of your health insurance premium is for the Admin that was hired to deny

How are we going to pay for it?
Ask your congressman and senator to USE YOUR TAX DOLLARS that you are already getting hit for on your payroll tax stub...


*** Financial Regulations: In an effort to prevent another collapse of the financial industry, President Obama -- joined by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, consumer and industry groups, and members of Congress -- will be unveiling a series of new regulations at 12:50 pm ET. A few things to mention: Nothing the administration announces today will be law; it will need to get through Congress. Also, there isn't the streamlining some would like to see, but administration officials tell us it's hard enough to add agencies and tinker with existing ones. Eliminating one or more may be impossible in this Senate (think of the turf battles). Finally, the collective powers of the Fed chair, Treasury secretary, and FDIC chair are greatly enhanced. And, politically, this is a big victory for the FDIC's Sheila Baer, who wanted to see her agency's power expanded -- not a rival agency created. By the way, here's a question for those following the administration's policies regarding the economic crisis: Will the toxic-asset program ever be used?

*** Will A Memo Quiet His Critics? Also today, at 5:45 pm ET, Obama signs a presidential memo granting same-sex benefits to federal workers. This move, however, seems mostly about placating gay-rights advocates who have been angered by 1) the administration's hesitance in overturning "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"; 2) its brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act, which Obama has promised to repeal; and 3) Obama's invitation of Rev. Rick Warren to deliver the prayer at the inauguration. In fact, some wealthy gay supporters of Obama have become so mad that they're taking their names off an upcoming Biden fundraiser. Of course, the Obama White House has been very reluctant to get involved in cultural issues, and it seems intent on avoiding all the early mistakes Bill Clinton made (like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"). Yet today's presidential memo is a reactive attempt to quell the anger coming from the gay community. But even the memo doesn't seem to go far enough for gay-rights advocates. For one thing, as the New York Times notes, the benefits for same-sex couples won't be extended to health care.

*** Obama's Additional Comments On Iran: In his interview with CNBC's John Harwood yesterday, Obama clarified his administration's response to the protests and violence in Iran. First, he made an effort to note that there is not THAT big of a difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi. "Either way, we were going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some problems in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons. And that would be true whoever came out on top in this election." Obama also argued that it was important for the U.S. to not been seen as "meddling" in Iran's election. "The easiest way for reactionary forces inside Iran to crush reformers is to say it's the U.S. that is encouraging those reformers. So what I've said is, 'Look, it's up to the Iranian people to make a decision. We are not meddling.' And, you know, ultimately the question that the leadership in Iran has to answer is their own credibility in the eyes of the Iranian people. And when you've got 100,000 people who are out on the streets peacefully protesting, and they're having to be scattered through violence and gunshots, what that tells me is the Iranian people are not convinced of the legitimacy of the election."

*** Latest In Health Care: Turning to the debate over health care, the AP reports that a cost estimate for the Senate Finance Committee's health-care plan came out yesterday: $1.6 trillion. The committee was supposed to unveil its legislation today. "But Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said that wouldn't happen and the bill would come out 'when it's ready' - later this week or next. The Finance Committee was supposed to start voting next week. Meanwhile, the Bipartisan Policy Center is holding a discussion at noon in DC on the subject of health-care with Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and Howard Baker. They will introduce a $1.2 trillion health-care plan that will be paid for through tax increases and spending cuts.

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